Travel Writing What is travel writing? What are the main kinds of travel writing? Why do people read travel writing?
What is travel writing?
It is what it sounds like! Someone writes about a place they have traveled to.
Usually the place is unusual, interesting or exotic from the point of view of the reader.
The writing gives an impression of the destination and may give information or advice to the reader in case they are planning a trip.
For example: Someone in Australia might read travel writing about Hong Kong (which is an exotic, unusual destination for someone from another place!).
Kinds of travel writing
The three most common types are:
Feature articles-magazine and newspaper articles
Guide books-written for travelers
Books about a person’s journey-the length of a novel, describing a visit to a country or countries. Bill Bryson is a famous author of this kind of writing.
Why do people read travel writing?
People usually buy guide books when they intend to travel to a particular destination
Feature articles and travel books might be read for this reason too but often they are read simply because they are interesting
Some people enjoy reading travel writing because it allows them to imagine the destination without actually going there. We sometimes call these people ‘arm chair travelers’!
Feature Articles usually appear in magazines and newspapers
They usually range in length from 500-1000 words
They are usually written in first person and describe someone’s travel experience
This type of writing is usually chronological, anecdotal and may be humorous.
These give practical travel information as well as an impression of the destination.
There is always information on accommodation, food, transport and attractions usually for different budgets.
They are usually several hundred pages long and give a lot of detail. E.g. Which bus to get to Stanley Market!
These books usually involved extended trips to a destination.
Sometimes the travel itself is the story- like riding through China on a bicycle, or climbing in Tibet.
Often these books are a very personal account of the journey, they focus on the writer’s thoughts and feelings and well as describing the destination.
Extract from Travel Book
The next slide is an extract from Stranger on a Train: The Pleasures of Railways by Paul Theroux
What do you notice about the sentence structure and style
of this passage?
(The train traveller) has more choices than anyone else in motion: unlike the air-traveller strapped in his chair like a candidate for electrocution, he can stroll, enjoy the view and sleep in privacy in a horizontal position- he can travel as the natives do, the six thousand miles from Nakhodka to Moscow, in his pyjamas; unlike the person on a shipboard, he can restore his eyes with landscape, eat whenever he chooses and never know the ghastly jollity of group games-and he can get off whenever he likes. He can remain anonymous, adopt a disguise, or spend the five days from Istanbul to Tehran canoodling in his couchette. The train offers maximum of opportunity with the minimum of risk. A train journey is travel ; everything else-planes especially- is transfer , your journey beginning when you arrive….
Use of dashes to separate ideas
Use of lists especially lists of 3
Use of repetition- ‘he can’
Style is like the author speaking his thoughts aloud- contemplative
Some use of humour
Many examples of ideas which give detail and add to the descriptiveness of the piece
Using Your Language Booklet
Now look at the examples of Guide Books and Feature Articles in your booklet
Travel writing task
We are going to watch a travel programme about Hong Kong.
Consider these 3 questions while you are watching:
What are the major topics?
What information for the visitor does the programme include?
How would you describe the style of the programme?
Travel writing task
After we have watched the programme you will choose a section to write up in a travel writing style.
Context-looking at Hong Kong 10 years after handover-exploring identity
Asian influences/cultural heritage-temples, feng shui, jade
Hong Kong style-clothes, jewelry, The Peninsula, food, art
Watch the beginning of the video again
Write one paragraph which introduces Hong Kong and gives some information on Hong Kong’s history.
Imagine you are writing a feature article about Hong Kong for a newspaper in Australia. Your article should be positive about Hong Kong and be helpful to the reader who may be planning to visit. Imagine the visitor has only 2 days in Hong Kong on a ‘stop over’ to another destination.
You need to include:
Places to visit
Food and accommodation
What the visitor should expect
Your article should be 500-750 words long
Covers out of the ordinary subject matter , not just what is in the brochures
Uses humour to engage the reader
Is personal , perhaps using first person narration
Has a strong sense of the writer’s personality
Uses personal experiences and anecdotes
(stories from experience)
Includes some facts about the place
Can use a noun phrase to describe (an adjective in front of a noun, for example beautiful beach)
Is vivid: create clear pictures in the reader’s head
Has a bright, lively and fun tone
Can be colloquial (written in a chatty style, like the writer is having a conversation with the reader for example “tacky” or “roaring trade”)
Can use metaphors and similes to describe
Uses facts about the place being described
Lists adjectives in threes for added impact
Uses sarcasm to add impact if describing a place the writer didn’t like!